Echo after about 7 seconds

When I record the first 7 or 8 seconds will be ok then it sounds like my voice is recording itself twice (or even 3 times), with cutouts. If I leave a long silence (or hum) sometimes it would start recording properly again, but for less than a second before echoing again.

I had used Audacity in the last few days to (successfully) record several sessions of about 20 minutes each.

Mac OS 10.15.7 Catalina
Audacity 3.1.3
microphone - external USB mic, audio-technica AT9934USB

recording attached, which I had to save as MP3 because any other format was too large to attach.

Also, just to pre-empt possible suggestions, I did try restoring factory settings and the problem persists :confused:

That’s a good one. With the idea that nothing presents itself immediately, we can go to massive system and environment reset.

Disconnect network and WiFi. The idea is to divorce your machine from the outside world. If you can’t do that, then we may have located one possible problem.

Disconnect any network or external drives. You should be doing all live production on your internal drive anyway, so this shouldn’t pose any serious problems.

Audacity > Preferences > Recording > [_] Overdub (de-select).

Shut Down the machine. Not Restart. Actually shut down. Pay attention to how long it takes and if you get a spinning daisy. Also pay attention to any apps that prevent you from shutting down.

Start. Do not let any other apps start. Run Audacity.

You should be connected to your microphone or interface, not a “fake” device used for self-capture or internet recording. If you disconnect your microphone or interface and restart Audacity, your connection should vanish. If it doesn’t, then you’re not recording directly from your microphone or interface.

Does it still do it?


If it starts working clean and correctly, then you can go back through that list and figure out where the problem lies. My money is on a combination of system connection and “hidden” application. We are warned that Audacity doesn’t get along with external, network, or cloud drives.

Skype, Zoom, Meetings, etc. connections take over your machine sound systems and you can’t stop them. Never run those or even leave them napping while trying to make a clean sound recording.

I don’t know where the seven second delay could be coming from. That’s why you’re getting the forum blank looks. That’s extreme even for sloppy internet connections.

In any event, you have a method of producing work without damage.


One more. If you like listening to yourself (recommended) then you should be using headphones (highly recommended), and not speakers.

Shut down the live playback to you and see if the problem changes. See if you can make a long recording without self-monitoring—just turn it off temporarily.


If you do solve it or even get the problem to change, post back. We use poster comments to help others.


Overnight idea. If you disconnect all the network and external services and the machine drops dead, you could be running out of hard drive space. It takes seven seconds to fill up the remaining space in the drive and then it’s forced to share storage with the other drives.

Clean your internal drive.

You could also be running out of internal memory. That could happen when you have a million applications “napping” because you never close anything. I’m not just making that up. We had a guy at work who regularly rendered his machine unusable by doing that.

If your machine still has an application toolbar along the bottom, you should not have ton of “active” markers. This should clear when you shut down.


Problem fixed (but never really figured out why). Restarted computer, re-installed Audacity and now everything is fine :slight_smile: